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Selfish Routing and the Price of Anarchy
 MATHEMATICAL PROGRAMMING SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
, 2007
"... Selfish routing is a classical mathematical model of how selfinterested users might route traffic through a congested network. The outcome of selfish routing is generally inefficient, in that it fails to optimize natural objective functions. The price of anarchy is a quantitative measure of this in ..."
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Cited by 252 (11 self)
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Selfish routing is a classical mathematical model of how selfinterested users might route traffic through a congested network. The outcome of selfish routing is generally inefficient, in that it fails to optimize natural objective functions. The price of anarchy is a quantitative measure of this inefficiency. We survey recent work that analyzes the price of anarchy of selfish routing. We also describe related results on bounding the worstpossible severity of a phenomenon called Braess’s Paradox, and on three techniques for reducing the price of anarchy of selfish routing. This survey concentrates on the contributions of the author’s PhD thesis, but also discusses several more recent results in the area.
Nearoptimal network design with selfish agents
, 2003
"... We introduce a simple network design game that models how independent selfish agents can build or maintain a large network. In our game every agent has a specific connectivity requirement, i.e. each agent has a set of terminals and wants to build a network in which his terminals are connected. Possi ..."
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Cited by 156 (19 self)
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We introduce a simple network design game that models how independent selfish agents can build or maintain a large network. In our game every agent has a specific connectivity requirement, i.e. each agent has a set of terminals and wants to build a network in which his terminals are connected. Possible edges in the network have costs and each agent’s goal is to pay as little as possible. Determining whether or not a Nash equilibrium exists in this game is NPcomplete. However, when the goal of each player is to connect a terminal to a common source, we prove that there is a Nash equilibrium as cheap as the optimal network, and give a polynomial time algorithmtofinda(1+ε)approximate Nash equilibrium that does not cost much more. For the general connection game we prove that there is a 3approximate Nash equilibrium that is as cheap as the optimal network, and give an algorithm to find a (4.65 +ε)approximate Nash equilibrium that does not cost much more.
Intrinsic Robustness of the Price of Anarchy
"... The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium ..."
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Cited by 99 (11 self)
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The price of anarchy (POA) is a worstcase measure of the inefficiency of selfish behavior, defined as the ratio of the objective function value of a worst Nash equilibrium of a game and that of an optimal outcome. This measure implicitly assumes that players successfully reach some Nash equilibrium. This drawback motivates the search for inefficiency bounds that apply more generally to weaker notions of equilibria, such as mixed Nash and correlated equilibria; or to sequences of outcomes generated by natural experimentation strategies, such as successive best responses or simultaneous regretminimization. We prove a general and fundamental connection between the price of anarchy and its seemingly stronger relatives in classes of games with a sum objective. First, we identify a “canonical sufficient condition ” for an upper bound of the POA for pure Nash equilibria, which we call a smoothness argument. Second, we show that every bound derived via a smoothness argument extends automatically, with no quantitative degradation in the bound, to mixed Nash equilibria, correlated equilibria, and the average objective function value of regretminimizing players (or “price of total anarchy”). Smoothness arguments also have automatic implications for the inefficiency of approximate and BayesianNash equilibria and, under mild additional assumptions, for bicriteria bounds and for polynomiallength bestresponse sequences. We also identify classes of games — most notably, congestion games with cost functions restricted to an arbitrary fixed set — that are tight, in the sense that smoothness arguments are guaranteed to produce an optimal worstcase upper bound on the POA, even for the smallest set of interest (pure Nash equilibria). Byproducts of our proof of this result include the first tight bounds on the POA in congestion games with nonpolynomial cost functions, and the first
Computing correlated equilibria in MultiPlayer Games
 STOC'05
, 2005
"... We develop a polynomialtime algorithm for finding correlated equilibria (a wellstudied notion of rationality due to Aumann that generalizes the Nash equilibrium) in a broad class of succinctly representable multiplayer games, encompassing essentially all known kinds, including all graphical games, ..."
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Cited by 95 (6 self)
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We develop a polynomialtime algorithm for finding correlated equilibria (a wellstudied notion of rationality due to Aumann that generalizes the Nash equilibrium) in a broad class of succinctly representable multiplayer games, encompassing essentially all known kinds, including all graphical games, polymatrix games, congestion games, scheduling games, local effect games, as well as several generalizations. Our algorithm is based on a variant of the existence proof due to Hart and Schmeidler [11], and employs linear programming duality, the ellipsoid algorithm, Markov chain steady state computations, as well as applicationspecific methods for computing multivariate expectations.
On Nash equilibria for a network creation game
 In Proc. of SODA
, 2006
"... We study a network creation game recently proposed by Fabrikant, Luthra, Maneva, Papadimitriou and Shenker. In this game, each player (vertex) can create links (edges) to other players at a cost of α per edge. The goal of every player is to minimize the sum consisting of (a) the cost of the links he ..."
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Cited by 88 (7 self)
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We study a network creation game recently proposed by Fabrikant, Luthra, Maneva, Papadimitriou and Shenker. In this game, each player (vertex) can create links (edges) to other players at a cost of α per edge. The goal of every player is to minimize the sum consisting of (a) the cost of the links he has created and (b) the sum of the distances to all other players. Fabrikant et al. conjectured that there exists a constant A such that, for any α> A, all nontransient Nash equilibria graphs are trees. They showed that if a Nash equilibrium is a tree, the price of anarchy is constant. In this paper we disprove the tree conjecture. More precisely, we show that for any positive integer n0, there exists a graph built by n ≥ n0 players which contains cycles and forms a nontransient
The price of selfish behavior in bilateral network formation
 In Proceedings of the twentyfourth annual ACM symposium on Principles of distributed computing
, 2005
"... Given a collection of selfish agents who wish to establish links to route traffic among themselves, the set of equilibrium network topologies may appear quite different from the centrally enforced optimum. We study the quality (price of anarchy) of equilibrium networks in a game where links require ..."
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Cited by 78 (0 self)
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Given a collection of selfish agents who wish to establish links to route traffic among themselves, the set of equilibrium network topologies may appear quite different from the centrally enforced optimum. We study the quality (price of anarchy) of equilibrium networks in a game where links require the consent of both participants and are negotiated bilaterally, and compare these networks to those generated by an earlier model due to Fabrikant et al. [10] in which links are formed unilaterally. We provide a partial characterization of stable and efficient networks in the bilateral network formation game, and provide examples of stable networks that are not Nash graphs in the unilateral game. We develop an upper and lower bound on the price of anarchy of the bilateral game. An empirical analysis demonstrates that the average price of anarchy is better in the bilateral connection game
Strong price of anarchy
 In SODA
, 2007
"... A strong equilibrium (Aumann 1959) is a pure Nash equilibrium which is resilient to deviations by coalitions. We define the strong price of anarchy to be the ratio of the worst case strong equilibrium to the social optimum. In contrast to the traditional price of anarchy, which quantifies the loss i ..."
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Cited by 76 (11 self)
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A strong equilibrium (Aumann 1959) is a pure Nash equilibrium which is resilient to deviations by coalitions. We define the strong price of anarchy to be the ratio of the worst case strong equilibrium to the social optimum. In contrast to the traditional price of anarchy, which quantifies the loss incurred due to both selfishness and lack of coordination, the strong price of anarchy isolates the loss originated from selfishness from that obtained due to lack of coordination. We study the strong price of anarchy in two settings, one of job scheduling and the other of network creation. In the job scheduling game we show that for unrelated machines the strong price of anarchy can be bounded as a function of the number of machines and the size of the coalition. For the network creation game we show that the strong price of anarchy is at most 2. In both cases we show that a strong equilibrium always exists, except for a well defined subset of network creation games. ∗ This work was supported in part by the IST Programme of the European Community, under the PASCAL
On the price of anarchy and stability of correlated equilibria of linear congestion games
, 2005
"... ..."
On the impact of combinatorial structure on congestion games
 in Proceedings of the 47th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS
"... We study the impact of combinatorial structure in congestion games on the complexity of computing pure Nash equilibria and the convergence time of best response sequences. In particular, we investigate which properties of the strategy spaces of individual players ensure a polynomial convergence time ..."
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Cited by 61 (12 self)
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We study the impact of combinatorial structure in congestion games on the complexity of computing pure Nash equilibria and the convergence time of best response sequences. In particular, we investigate which properties of the strategy spaces of individual players ensure a polynomial convergence time. We show, if the strategy space of each player consists of the bases of a matroid over the set of resources, then the lengths of all best response sequences are polynomially bounded in the number of players and resources. We can also prove that this result is tight, that is, the matroid property is a necessary and sufficient condition on the players ’ strategy spaces for guaranteeing polynomial time convergence to a Nash equilibrium. In addition, we present an approach that enables us to devise hardness proofs for various kinds of combinatorial games, including first results about the hardness of market sharing games and congestion games for overlay network design. Our approach also yields a short proof for the PLScompleteness of network congestion games. 1
Beyond VCG: Frugality of truthful mechanisms
 In Proceedings of the 46th Annual IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science
, 2005
"... We study truthful mechanisms for auctions in which the auctioneer is trying to hire a team of agents to perform a complex task, and paying them for their work. As common in the field of mechanism design, we assume that the agents are selfish and will act in such a way as to maximize their profit, wh ..."
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Cited by 55 (4 self)
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We study truthful mechanisms for auctions in which the auctioneer is trying to hire a team of agents to perform a complex task, and paying them for their work. As common in the field of mechanism design, we assume that the agents are selfish and will act in such a way as to maximize their profit, which in particular may include misrepresenting their true incurred cost. Our first contribution is a new and natural definition of the frugality ratio of a mechanism, measuring the amount by which a mechanism “overpays”, and extending previous definitions to all monopolyfree set systems. After reexamining several known results in light of this new definition, we proceed to study in detail shortest path auctions and “routofk sets ” auctions. We show that when individual set systems (e.g., graphs) are considered instead of worst cases over all instances, these problems exhibit a rich structure, and the performance of mechanisms may be vastly different. In particular, we show that the wellknown VCG mechanism may be far from optimal in these settings, and we propose and analyze a mechanism that is always within a constant factor of optimal. 1